Thursday, 18 March 2010

Doctor Who Series 5 Press Launch - Matt Smith & Karen Gillan - BBC Wales Today

Matt Smith and Karen Gillan in a scene from Doctor Who
Entertainment correspondent Lizo Mzimba takes a look at Matt Smith's first outing as the 11th Doctor.

As an episode this has a few boxes to tick.

It has to introduce a new Doctor, a new companion and sustain the momentum the series has built up since its return in 2005. For the most part, it does this well.

The plot picks up with the newly regenerated Doctor crashing his Tardis into a young girl's garden. This being Doctor Who, an alien threat isn't far away.

As a story it veers between witty and creepy. And speeds along as well as the best episodes of the last few years.

Matt Smith's Doctor is a quirky, energetic one. Perhaps the most alien interpretation for many incarnations. Frequently clumsy and uncoordinated in his physical approach. While mentally firing off ideas in all directions.

It's not instantly accessible, it's too complex for that. But it's often performances like this that can, as the series goes on, prove ultimately more satisfying.

Karen Gillan's companion has more instant appeal. Full of qualities designed to make her popular with the audience. She's feisty, brave and funny.

Ultimately it's their relationship that has to power the series. And on the evidence of this first episode, there's certainly potential.

The 12 other episodes to follow (on the strength of a montage of scenes shown on Thursday) combine classic Who monsters - the Cybermen will return - with all new villains.

The expected impressive special fx - spitfires dogfighting in space. And the Doctor exploring history - he visits Stonehenge and encounters what appear to Roman centurions.

Matt and Karen aren't the only new faces. There's a new head writer Steven Moffat.

Moffat is the man behind some of the most popular episodes of the past few years including Blink which featured scary statues and a young Carey Mulligan.

With such a pedigree expectations for the series are high. And this first story, which Moffat wrote, rightly concentrates on the Doctor and his new partner. And provides a solid start for what is definitely its most challenging season yet.

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